teaching with much older teachers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by seabear, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. seabear

    seabear New Member

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post and I'm not sure what to do. I have been on a 3rd grade team for 2 years. There is 3 of us, though I am the youngest 32. The other two are old enough to be my mother.

    I get the feeling my team gets jealous or our teaching methods do not match. For example, we are suppose to do guided reading but one of the teachers will do AR and the other one will teach the whole class in a round robin style. They are very traditional and do not like teaching in small groups or use any hands-on inquiry teaching for math. It just seems like they look for the right worksheet. They criticize a good lesson by saying we do not have time to have the students "play" and I get the feeling they should look bored and hate learning. Their students even say they wish they were in my class.

    This has made the principal upset, and we are all suppose to follow the district's curriculum which is not the least traditional. Both of them seem angry at me and has attacked my teaching style and credentials. They will say I have a noisy uncontrolled class when they work in small group but they are all on task and engaged in the lesson.

    I have excellent test scores and do not need to have tutors brought in to pull out any I cannot reach. This also makes them mad. They are the only ones in the whole school that seem to teach to their own agenda.

    Is this just the way older teachers are? What would you do?
     
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  3. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    i'm sorry you are in this situation. its really sucks that there are teachers out there who aren't looking out for whats best for thier students or are willing to change. these teachers are comfortable with what they know and likely will not change. You can't force them to change. Just keep to yourself and don't let them get to you. It seems to me that they are threatened by your style of teaching. Its true that lots of older teachers see small groups and a noisy classroom as being out of control. My last principal saw things that way sadly.

    Why are they just now getting snippy with you if you have been on the same team for two years? If you have the scores to back you up, then I wouldn't worry about them.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    My mentor teacher my first year had been teaching for 30 years. Unlike the teachers on your team, she was always looking for what was new in education and incorporating that into her classroom. She was a great teacher and I'm glad that I got her as my mentor. In that same school though there were some older teachers that stuck with one way of teaching, and that was the way they started with and will probably retire with. I know that for some change is hard, especially if it used to work. Children have changed though and what worked when these teachers first started will not work for every student. Its a shame that they are resorting to this, and I'm sorry that you have to work in this environment. I'm wondering why your principal is mad? Is he mad at you or your team? The scores speak for themselves so keep doing what works!
     
  5. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    I have worked with many veteran teachers who are very creative and imaginative and the children love being in their class.I Am curious why the principal does not say something if these teachers are not following the guidelines set-up by your district.I can't believe round-robin reading is still around. Why do you stay with this team? Wouldn't it be better to switch to a team that better fits your teaching style. Until then,do the best you can and continue doing the things you know works best for your children.
     
  6. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    We do planing as a grade level....However we all kind of do our own thing as well. I have always said "you do your thing and I'll do mine". I know we all have our own ways of teaching and don't really care what the others do. I have had some teachers who don't like that....but *shrug* I do what I think is best for my students and that may not be what others think is best for theirs. As long as the same thing is being taught then it doesn't matter, in my opinion.
     
  7. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Sounds like these teachers have their lesson plans laminated. I would just keep doing what you are doing. Surely the principal can see what's going on and knows you are doing what's best for the students. Is the principal upset at the teachers who aren't doing what is best for the students or upset that you all don't do the same thing?
     
  8. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    It sounds like a hard situation for you. Keep believing in yourself and doing what you are doing...sounds like you are seeing positive results. BUT, please don't lump ALL older teachers into the same category as those two! ALL older teachers are NOT the same, just as ALL younger teachers, too, have their individual strengths and weaknesses. :angel:
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    You just have to keep your focus on your kiddos! Keep doing what keeps them engaged and excited about learning. Personally, I never have a quiet classroom! People even comment on how noisy we get! I have to keep reminding myself all the time that kids learn by doing and that noise comes with discovery.

    As stated, many veteran teachers keep challenging themselves to try new things and tailor their teaching style to the class needs. Just keep being pleasant to your team members, smile, and remember your job is to focus on your class.
     
  10. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I had an "old school" teacher on my team. She did not want to embrace technology, but she still tried to keep up with the new way of doing things. Every now and then though she would pull out a worksheet that I remember doing in elem. :lol:
     
  11. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Smile, be pleasant, do what you're hired to do. They don't do your evaluations, they don't sign your paycheck. You're required to follow your District/State curriculum. Close your door and do what's right.
     
  12. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2008

    I am an old teacher and proud of it
    In my years I have seen many new ideas come and go
    Like waves on the shore
    The good (old or new) teacher will glean what they can out of every new and old Idea
    To Quote smalltowngal from another thread:
    I know there are teachers that fit under this age category ...., but again, don't lump us all together.​


    I see a red flag with your statement "Their students even say they wish they were in my class." You have to be truthful with yourself and ask yourself why they are saying this?
    In the past I have found students who ask for a "special" teacher are looking for a "fun" class or a easy work class not a learning class. Not that you can't have fun while learning but "the only way I can lear is by having fun?" We now have a generation of students who demand to be entertained. So if you do not entertain, kids do not want to be in your class.
    I say schmooze the veteran teachers and find out what is working for them and why it is working.
     
  13. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2008

    seabear, I can sympathize with you. However I have 3 team members and they're all different. One of them (Teacher A) worked as a secretary for about 20 years then went back to school to teach--she's so OCD about *everything* and won't try anything new. She sticks to the scripted curriculum to a fault. Another one (Teacher B) is co-dependent on her. She won't do anything that Teacher A doesn't do. (I can't plan with Teachers A and B because they're so rigid.) Teacher C is about 2 years from retiring. She's so sweet and we plan together. However she doesn't seem to hit the academics as hard as we need to now. I'm all for art and fun stuff but we can't do that all day and that's what she wants to do.

    I definitely wouldn't say that's "how older teachers are." However that's just how some people are--regardless of age. They resist change or don't want to be different from everyone else. If your teaching strategies are working for you and your class don't change just because you're doing things differently. Try to learn from your colleagues. But at the end of the day if it doesn't work for you--don't do it.
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 10, 2008

    Dave-I wasn't lumping all teachers together. If you go back and re-read my post on this thread, I told a story about a great mentor teacher that taught for 34 years.

    ETA: That quote is from another post.
     
  15. educator

    educator Rookie

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    I'm an older teacher (chronologically) and a new teacher. I must admit that my expectations of children in a classroom are different than the expectations of some of the younger (chronologically) teachers. I do expect the children to be respectful, keep their hands to themselves, raise their hands to speak, sit during instruction and pay attention. I want control of the classroom in order to teach the children how they should act and to avoid having a demanding child interfere with the education of a more passive child.

    This works for me for several reasons. It's how I was taught, it allows me know what is going on with each child (none of the children have their backs to me) and it allows me to see that the children are doing the work they need to be doing. Other teachers prefer a less structured environment, but it just doesn't work for me.

    I'm a very disciplined, organized person, and I try to teach those traits to my students. Impulsiveness and spontaneity have a place, but not at the expense of discipline and structure.

    By a lot of standards, I'm a very rigid, goal oriented person. I believe a lot of people from my generation (I'm in my late 40s) have this trait, and in a lot of ways we just cannot understand how the removal of discipline and structure can develop the adults we hope the kids become.

    I would question, not judge, younger teachers on their methods. Heck, I might learn something or have my mind changed.
     
  16. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    BTW My use of your quote was a good thing :D
     
  17. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    I wanted to clarify what I said in my previous post about Teacher A being rigid. I wasn't talking about her standards, discipline, etc. She just gets it in her head how something should be done (lesson plans, grades) and any other way is wrong. And it's not about her age--it's her personality.

    (I, however, am very rigid on discipline. Maybe a little too rigid.)
     
  18. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I'm with Hoot Owl on this one. Keep doing what is right.

    Keep in mind that the problem is not that they are older. That would be like saying that young teachers have no work ethics. I taught with a young teacher that came in, worked not one minute beyond her contracted hours, took no work home with her, kept the same BB boards up all year, and taught straight from the teacher manual, using every worksheet she could find. This had nothing to do with the fact that she was young. She was a teacher with a job - not a vocation and her age had nothing to do with it. You have two "old School" team mates who happen to be older.

    It sounds like you are doing everything right. They are threatened by you because it may force them to teach outside their comfort zone. Ignore the jabs. It sounds like you are succeeding with your strategies.
     
  19. seabear

    seabear New Member

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    Well, the principal's main problem is the accusations going around. Both have criticized the "new" curriculum and my record on state tests seem to have made them re-examine their own teaching methods. Mainly their complaints are more of the petty and sometimes it seems more like a sabatoge. For example, I'll be late for a meeting but never told. The grade level's parent conference date changed and again, I wasn't told.

    I try to email the other teachers to keep things straight but then I get accused of being a trouble maker. I was told not to email anymore because it wasn't necessary and it makes me look bad.

    The principal also seem to bring up how my class works when I think she's trying to deters their claim for more tutoring help or requests for special ed testing.

    IrishDave has also hit a point that was brought up. My class is exciting. I enjoy teaching children to love learning and to challenge themselves. I use technology a lot and sometimes it is entertaining.

    Is it fair? I'm not sure but I have been trying to be sensitive and I have toned down a lot so I won't outshine them this year.

    I guess I'll just continue to do what I do. If they don't like it, then they can just deal with it.
     
  20. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Wow!! The same thing happened to me last year as a first year teacher coming into a team of two, and I made three....talk about "the third wheel"!! Some of my fellow members on here probably remember my ranting and raving about my team members last school year.
    Anyway, as the year went on, they started to resent me too because I came right in and out shined them in many ways. I always looked for more creative ways to teach my lessons when they would give me "made up" unit plans that they've been using for years and tell me to use them if I wanted to. Yeah right!:down:I would always do my own thing because most of what they taught were through worksheets and worksheets are my enemy. My other collegues would compliment me, my classroom, my students' writing, I mean everything we did was noticed, and needless to say, they didn't like that very much!! My team members were(are) just dull teachers who teach the same material in the same way and their students always seemed bored. Now my class were the total opposite, we were always having fun, but doing experiments, engaging in projects, discussing the material etc. all at the same time.
    It was not a good year for me because they started treating me bad and we even had a slight blow up around Christmas time...I just couldn't take it anymore. But I kept doing what I knew would benefit my kids and the administration and my other collegues all recognized my work. So the headaches ended up paying off in the end because this "new teacher" came in and showed a couple teachers who were too comfortable with their positions how to try new things.

    Hang in there, I totally understand how you feel. It's not fair to be shunned by your collegues just because you may have an edge on them in some ways. I feel they should take notes from you and learn how to really teach!!!
     
  21. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    By the way...they still do not like me very much!:lol:I still have to work with one of them but the other teacher moved grade levels. Thank GOD!:lol:
     
  22. SuperMissM

    SuperMissM Rookie

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    My roomie/teammate and I went to the same college at the same time. We teach similarly, but still different in some ways. We work with a teacher who is known for saying "just give them a worksheet and let them read the book".

    Its been rough for us too... and we have to collaborate a lot.
     
  23. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    My class is .. er ... was exciting I use technology I had my Computer hooked up to 5 TVs in my classroom I could show DVD , do Power point, Show Web pages, and with my writing pad do math problems right on the screen.
    I had my over head on a remote so I could turn it on from the other side of the room (one transparency at a time tho) I had other items on remote also. Kids kinda saw me like a Mr Wizard
    BUT
    I was also in demand by teachers to teach then how to do Power Point, hook up to TVs, etc what helped was I would do it and "charge" the teacher a diet Mt. Dew.
    Is there any way you can share your methods,
    first ask them to share their methods.
     
  24. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Worksheets HA HA HA
    They can be your best friend or you biggest enemy.
    Kids like worksheets.
    Parents like them because they can "see" what is going on.
    But at times they become busy work with no purpose.
    ALL worksheets should reinforce your lesson.
     
  25. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    I dealt with your exact problem for several years and eventually switched grade levels because I was tired of the tension on my team. One teacher in particular had been teaching for 35+ years and was very content with doing the bare minimum and handing out worksheet after worksheet. I am the complete opposite of that so we basically butted heads from the start. Eventually I just dealt with her when I had to and continued doing my job the way I wanted to do it because we were never going to agree on anything.
     
  26. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    I think in any job you run into people who are high maintainence...that is just the nature of the beast. :) I think attitude and tolerance in approaching any problem situation are key factors. Ultimately, YOU can not always control a situation, but you can control your reaction to it and to what degree you let it impact your life...sounds cliche, but is true. :)

    Although, I have the greatest empathy for this particular situation...it is never easy to be unjustly ostracized...I cannot help but take umbrage with the constant referencing to older teachers. To stereotype any group, be it by gender, color, race, country of origin, age, or any of a myriad of other ways, is reprehensible. Younger, older teacher...is irrelevent. Young, old, or inbetween, it is the character of the person that is at the essence of any action, be it positive or not. :soapbox:
     
  27. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    :2up::2up::2up:
     
  28. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    That's true because the teachers I had to deal with are not even "older" teachers. They were just in their positions longer than I was. So age really doesn't matter.
     
  29. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    This is so true.

    As many posters have already pointed out, bad teachers come in all ages......and so do good ones. And many people may not believe this, but I still think there are more good teachers out there than bad. The bad ones just live a path of stinkiness in their wake!
     
  30. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    If you're upsetting people and people are talking about you - you MUST be doing something right!!!:up:
     
  31. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I love that quote. I've been ostracized by teachers at all the schools I've been at. My husband tells me that I should examine how I deal with people, but I honestly don't think it's that. I think some teachers are threatened by energy and ideas. Lord knows I have enough of both. But it's rough when they make it YOUR problem (I want to spend my energy on the classroom, not on nasty teachers).
     
  32. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I am the youngest teacher at my school at 30 years old. I totally understand. We have fantastic teachers, but things like technology are definitely a challenge for most of them.
     
  33. Bonnie gr. 2

    Bonnie gr. 2 Companion

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    Both sides

    I can see both sides of your dilemma. You are trying new things that you feel are very effective and work well for you. The older teachers are using older methods that you don't feel are as effective.
    I have been teaching for over 25 years. I use some of the newer methods but not all. Some changes are done just for the sake of change.
    You don't believe in worksheets. I don't use them all the time but I do use them. They have their value for reinforcement. And sometimes kids like them.
    You mentioned that you don't need to have anyone come in and pull out anyone that you cannot reach. This may not always be the case. There are times, no matter how good a teacher is, that there will be a student that they cannot personally reach. I used to think that I could handle any class. Eight years ago I had an extemely difficult class. I learned that there are classes with whom I will not be as effective.
    I wish you the best in your career.
     
  34. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Dear seabear,

    I have been on both sides of this coin. When I started teaching K-4 in 1985 none of the teachers in my new school used centers and I had a hard time winning them over, but I took the...let's agree to disagree attitude....in two years they were all using centers.

    Two years ago I started hearing about "cooperative learning this" and "group that" in our elem. school. It has taken me awhile because I couldn't see using it across all subjects...anyway I do use cooperative groups but not as much as newer teachers but all of our scores are good, so it works out.

    As far as the principal, well it really is their job to handle the pressure. It's not like you are egging the children on. Kids know what they like and what they don't. This might be the time for the principal to put on a workshop (don't volunteer to lead it :cool:)or send these teachers to one. But just try to be humble but confident in what you know! Good Luck! I hope you get a like-minded team soom...it makes teaching so much more fun.
     
  35. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    ooohhh..this drives me nuts! you hold your head high and let them know that you have the most recent research based teaching practices...and let the principal deal with it. you keep doing what you are doing and watch your test scores reach higher levels!!
     
  36. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Research has become a buzz word instead of an answer.
    At times it looks like any research will do.
    Just because you have research does not mean it is reliable.
    I have found most research (what my district used) only expounded
    ONE SIZE FITS ALL

    This limits a teacher to use only new modalities (since the "old" methods are put down)
    A marriage of Old and new would be perfect.
     
  37. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Seabear,
    Wow. I can really relate to your story. I started teaching when I was 21 years old, and when I started out, I was made to feel like I didn't really belong with the other teachers. Everyone else had been teaching for 15+ years (weathered teachers) and I was brand spanking new. The other teachers that were married with families didn't invite me into their "click" (sp?) ... and BOY did the gossip run rampant when they were on the loose!

    Everything I did was criticized, oh not openly, but it got around to me eventually. I wanted to use centers. They said I was wasting my time. I liked actually teaching creative and fun lessons instead of using TestPractice booklets for everything, and they tried "throwing me under the bus" when we had an administrative grade level meeting. I was openly made to feel unwelcome. The only solace I had was the older unmarried "old school" teacher who did things her own way, and didn't care what anyone else thought about her, but was always there to listen to my ideas, even if she thought I was crazy for attempting them ;)

    I swear, those first 2 years, I would go home and cry EVERYDAY to my boyfriend (now husband) how miserable I was with the few mean spirited teachers I had to work with. And everyday he would tell me to just take a deep breath and that nothing in the education world ever stays the same forever.

    Boy was he right. That next year, my grade has had a COMPLETE turnover! The other teachers moved (my friend retired) and now my grade was suddenly full of a brand spanking new set of motivated sharing teachers. It was as close as you could get to career heaven!

    It's SO MUCH MORE FUN sharing interesting activities with a group of motivated and fun coworkers, than trying to hide good ideas from the criticism of pessimists !!!!!

    Seabear, we are with you! We're all in the same boat together. Don't let "Weathered Teacher Pessimists" get you down. Your youthful teaching personality will undoubtedly get you the support you deserve! Just keep up the good work!

    Do you feel that? I do believe it's the winds of change!
     
  38. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2008

    The problem is human nature and the resistance to change.
    If everyone (teachers)was made to read Who Moved My Cheese (at least 4 times)
    we wouldn't have all these insecurities. Some teachers feel that
    a new teacher's success is proof of their inadequacy. When one looks good they look bad. They feel comfortable with their old ways and the rut is safe. Now the flip side to that is many of them KNOW what works with kids. They know how to impart the language arts skills, the math facts and what have you. The last thing they want is some wet behind the ears newbie with a head full of ivory tower proclamations to tell HER/him what to do.
    Teaching is such a complex thing with all the personalities, attitudes, skill levels etc that it is incredible that anyone ever learns a damned thing.
     
  39. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2008

    INVITATION EXTENDED TO ALL: YOUNG, OLD, IN-BETWEEN, ETC.
    Please follow me to a new thread entitled "Teaching With Much Younger Teachers" and then for good measure, so as to be sure to cover all bases, let's not forget threads for the following:
    Teaching with Middle Aged Teachers, Teaching With Tall Teachers, Teaching with Fat Teachers, Teaching With Men Teachers...oh, the possibilities...maybe we can start a whole new forum!

    Please let's open our hearts and our minds here! AGE is not the deciding factor ...it is just, unfortunately, thus far been your experience...or maybe, possibly, you may have been a bit quick to lump all these teachers into one group. And even if it is, again unfortunately, true for your school, please don't shut yourself off from ever seeing others as the individuals they are, thus sealing yourself into a rut of your own making.

    Stephenpe is so right...it is about human nature. People are individuals and their behaviors are contingent on their character, not their age in of itself. Miss V is also right on the money when she talks about teaching being about sharing....Outstanding teachers, regardless of age, share with each other. THAT is what refreshes, motivates, and inspires us to be great teachers.
     
  40. MissV

    MissV Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    OohOoh. Don't forget to add the combination Thread: "Fat Younger Teachers teaching with middle-aged tall men Teachers--who are also conveniently your husbands" ... Because I want to join that one!
     
  41. Jame

    Jame Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2008

    :D
     

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